Osama Bin Laden was discovered and killed in Pakistan on May 1, 2011 by U.S. CIA-led forces. The taste of revenge and retribution may prove to be temporarily satisfying to a hurt and troubled nation, but the real resolution to the endemic problem of global terrorism may prove illusory. What it does affirm is the reality of blood lust that remains very much a part of the human psyche.
It may be comforting to embody the image of Osama Bin Laden with all the aspects and characteristics that we define as evil. It may lead some to conclude that evil has been vanquished much like the fiery dragon of a bygone era. This event may distract the population from considering the unmistakable reality that the possibility of evil is within all of us and that the nation that so proudly claims to have defeated a devil has a history resplendent with evil deeds and their horrific consequences. We seem unable to acknowledge all the needless death and destruction throughout the world that have been a direct consequence of the unabashed use of American military power.
Osama Bin Laden was, without doubt, a crazed yet charismatic psychopath obsessed with a radical and extremist agenda. He is a man responsible for extraordinary suffering and death throughout the world. His death by violent means was inevitable, but in the final analysis, he is but one man. The institution he helped construct cannot endure for long; because, the belief system that sustains it is untenable. Eventually it will collapse and be replaced by other groups driven by hatred and vengeance. Unfortunately, the cycle remains unbroken.
As a people, we would be better served if we could collectively become more self-aware and look critically and honestly at our own behavior as a nation. When all the elation and self-praise begins to dissipate as it must, we are still left with the institutions, infrastructure and weaponry that are conducive to death and destruction that we have dutifully fashioned over the many years of our national history.